Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Kirstin Dow


The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was established to provide affordable insurance to property owners and encourage communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management, primarily through the Community Rating System (CRS). The CRS awards points to communities for adopting a variety of activities in support of floodplain management. One area of interest in the CRS program is understanding differences in the types of communities participating and the degree of their participation. Research on the NFIP’s CRS tends to focus on community program participation in reducing flood losses and indicators of participation. Much of this research was performed prior to 2013 revisions to the CRS points system and considers the characteristics of the full CRS community, rather than just of the floodplain occupants, and uses single census factors. This study considers how robust these findings are given updates to the CRS points system and alternative methodological approaches.

This research asks three main questions. Do previously identified indicators of community CRS participation remain useful, for overall points and for points within each CRS series? Are there significant differences between the Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI®) (Cutter et al. 2003) and the individual factors (educational attainment, housing value, population density) in the correlation to the CRS points? How does the application of a dasymetric approach to identify populations and their characteristics within the 100- year floodplain compare to the correlations of SoVI® and individual factors (educational attainment, housing value, population density) with community CRS participation calculated at the community level? The analysis of indicator verification and potential was conducted using Pearson’s r and compared using Fisher’s z transformation. The comparison between the whole community and floodplain in the community was done through a paired t-test.

The results confirmed the strength of housing value and education attainment as strong indicators of CRS participation post-2013 revisions, but population density was not found to be significant. The SoVI® was found to have indicator strength comparable to both housing value and educational attainment for indicating CRS participation. The SoVI® finding indicated that the more vulnerable communities tend to have lower levels of CRS participation. The results indicated that a dasymetric approach has limited value in examining the CRS within this study region.